To Each His Own Brain Biology of the Unconscious Publication date : March 31, 2011
This book is the result of the coming together of psychoanalysis and neuroscience around the shared observation that experience leaves a mark. Although the idea that experience produces psychic imprints - whether conscious or unconscious - has always been central to psychoanalysis, it was not until recently that findings in neurobiology demonstrated that neuronal plasticity existed and that it operated throughout a person's life.
This constant remodelling in relation to experience poses certain basic questions about each individual's identity and future. How does psychic life emerge from experience and from what it imprints? What are the respective contributions of external stimuli (the reality behind experience) and of internal stimuli (the imprinted marks)? How do the mechanisms of synaptic plasticity participate in the establishment of an unconscious internal reality? What is the role of the body in this new dynamic organisation?
This book provides the foundations for a better understanding of the relations between neuroscience and psychoanalysis and offers an original theory of the unconscious, by combining recent findings in neurobiology with the basic principles of psychoanalysis. Eschewing genetic determinism, it shows that each individual is different and each brain unique.
Pierre Magistretti, a physician and neurobiologist, is a professor of physiology and director of the Centre for Psychiatric Neuroscience at the University of Lausanne's medical school. In addition, he is the president of the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies.
François Ansermet is a psychoanalyst and professor of child and adolescent psychology at the University of Lausanne. He is the co-author, with O. Halfon and B. Pierrehumbert, of Filiations psychiques (Presses Universitaires de France, 2000).